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To gain traction in the aerospace industry, Australian manufacturer of rotary shank cutting tools, Sutton Tools, has been using linear motor technology.

Better Surface Finish With Linear Technology

Better Surface Finish With Linear Technology

To gain traction in the aerospace industry, Australian manufacturer of rotary shank cutting tools, Sutton Tools, has been using linear motor technology. Article by Anca.

Jeff Boyd, export manager at Sutton Tools said, “By really focusing on how we could improve the surface finish, and with the added capabilities of the linear motor, we have created a product that is delivering significant productivity gains for our customers. The team is now consistently achieving a longer tool life and faster cycle times in some of the higher strength materials such as titanium.”

Mr Boyd added that improvements in the surface finish of the cutting tools have been achieved by moving away from the traditional ball-screw movement on machines to a linear motor. The company also conducted a direct comparison and experimented with different grinding wheel grades and grinding parameters for the best finish.

“A better surface finish has also mean we get better adhesion of the coating and stable performance to the cutting tool which is important for our customers. Tool stability is important because it means our customers can confidently forecast their production schedules and reduce machine down time,” said Mr Boyd.

In order to validate their grinding methods, an optical 3D scanning technique is used to measure the area surface roughness on the rake face and the cutting rake on the tools.

Anca has combined linear motion motor technology from its sister company Anca Motion to its own rigid grinding machines. The LinX cylindrical linear motors prevent loss of preload or rigidity when grinding tools and reversal errors are eliminated and higher contouring accuracy can be maintained due to a unique control algorithm.

Global Linear Motion Systems

According to Market Research Future, the global linear motion systems market is expected to touch a whopping US$8.76 billion mark at a staggering CAGR of 7.8 percent during the assessment period (2017-2023). Various technological advents across the industrial spectrum have given rise to the need for a linear motion system (LMS) to enhance the operational process by having a continuous transfer of products.

With industrialisation on the rise and people having more disposable income in their hand than before, segments such as automotive, food & beverage, packaging, healthcare, manufacturing and others are getting an unprecedented boost. Seamless processing, agility, efficiency in handling shock load condition, and safeguarding against contamination and moisture have made it the foremost procedure for several industrial verticals.

Automotive industry demands an operational technology which can deliver round-the-clock service of the highest level of accuracy without any variance. LMS fits the bill perfectly. Furthermore, advantages such as low maintenance cost and cost-effective production capability have helped it emerge as peerless industrial technology. Its compact size and load capacity help it attain versatility where it gets involved in productions of specialized vehicles such as ambulance, professional vehicles, fire trucks, telescoping trailers, and vehicles for disabled people.

However, lack of product variance can impede the growth rate during the forecast period. Market competitors are offering LMS at an affordable price, but the option remains very limited for the consumers.

Industry Trends

Minimal errors and accurate positioning of equipment have made LMS a market rage in the healthcare sector. Its easy maintenance has been accepted widely across verticals. Features accounting for its high demand are hygiene standards, high performance, and durability of devices.

The market leaders are trying to customize it according to the needs of the industry. Thomson Industries, Inc., has recently introduced T-Cas Linear Race Shafting that provides various benefits to automation manufacturers and can be considered exemplary.

LMS is currently penetrating other markets such as wastewater management, shale gas exploration, and aerospace & defence. An exponential rise in the use of LMS can be seen in these sectors.


The global market of LMS can be segmented based on type and application. Type-wise segmentation includes single-axis linear motion system and multi-axis linear motion system. Multi-axis linear motion system is leading the market and expects to grow at a rapid CAGR of 8.5 percent to reach a staggering US$5.70 billion mark during the prognosis period. Compared to single-axis, multi-axis is cost effective and can perform in diverse industrial platforms.

Application-based segmentation comprises packaging, machine tools, palletising, robotics, material handling equipment and others. Machine tools dominate the market and are expected to do so during the assessment period with the fastest CAGR of 7.7 percent. The segment stands out owing to its requirement of high accuracy control. LMS also betters the efficiency of machine tools by implementing innovations and solutions. In doing so, LMS has become the favourite of the machine tools segment.

Regional Analysis

APAC dominates the market and generates the maximum market revenue. China leads the region by making US$807.4 million in 2017 and is projected to grow with an impressive 11.1 percent CAGR during the forecast period. Japan and India follow the line. The presence of major sectors has boosted the semiconductor demand in the region owing to which the market is witnessing such growth.



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